Vine & Dine

Alberti Vineyards

wine glassLooking for some blood-red wine for your Halloween party? Then I have a recommendation for a new brew.

Jim and Peggy Alberti, who have been involved in local wine for many years, are now growing grapes on the old Jarvis estate in the Santa Cruz Mountains and very recently started making wine from the fruitful harvest. This property has a lot of history, dating back to 1863 when George and John Jarvis bought 300 acres and cleared the land for vineyards. It was exciting to taste the Albertis’ estate-bottled 2012 Pinot ($33 at Vinocruz) because I have visited this beautiful piece of property a number of times and tasted the end results of many a bountiful harvest. The rich loamy soil, north/south row arrangement, and the vineyard’s elevation of 940 feet produce fine grapes—and winemaker Jim Alberti has created some excellent Pinot from the abundant crop. “Elevation is critical for maximizing the entire growing season,” he says. “And the hanging grapes experience the open morning air circulation and direct sun exposure.”

The result is a rich, bold wine with aromas of dark berries, chocolaty caramel and spicy coriander—followed by a mouthful of delicious well-balanced Pinot. Flavors of olallieberry, cranberry and chocolate add to the complexity of this fine fruit-forward wine.

The Alberti Vineyard is not open to the public, but you can always get a tasting at Vinocruz. In fact, Alberti Vineyards will be pouring their wines at Vinocruz from 5-8 p.m. on First Friday, Nov. 7, and there will be a special on bottles purchased that night. The Halloween action might be over by then, but there’s still plenty of fun to be had. So pick up a bottle of this Pinot from Vinocruz and take it back to your coven to enjoy.

Vinocruz, 725 Front St., #10, Santa Cruz, 426-8466 (in Abbott Square off Cooper St.).

Deer Park Wine & Spirits

If you’ve spent too much on your Halloween costume but still want to go wine tasting, then head on over to the Deer Park Center in Aptos where you’ll find a hefty selection of wine and “spirits”—the good kind! And they even do wine tasting for $1 from 3-7 p.m. on Fridays—yes, just one dollar. 783 Rio Del Mar Blvd., #27, Aptos, 688-1228.

Freaky Fun on the Chardonnay II

Looking for a frightfully good time on Halloween? Then join the “spooktacular” Chardonnay II as they sail out on the briny, howl to freakishly fantastic tunes and drink some hair of the dog under the moon.
6:30 – 8:30 p.m.. Friday, Oct. 31.

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